Bismarck pitcher Frank Greco scattered six hits in his longest outing of the season Tuesday, pitching the Larks to a 6-1 Northwoods League win over the Waterloo Bucks at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.
It was Greco’s first win at home since June 8 and his second straight since one of his shortest outings of the season at home – two innings in a loss on July 8.
His shortest outing? A 1.2-inning loss to the Bucks.
“These guys roughed me up a little bit earlier this year,” Greco said. “That was a little motivation for me. That’s baseball. One day you’re getting your butt kicked and the next you're throwing a perfect game or something like that.”
The difference this time? Greco threw strikes. Of his 100 pitches, 69 were strikes.
“I established I was going to throw my fastball where I wanted when I wanted,” Greco added. “When I have my fastball working, that sets up all three of my pitches.”
“There was something about him today,” Larks manager Sean Repay said. “He was just locked in from the first pitch in the bullpen.”
Greco (2-3) pitched seven innings, getting pinch-hitter Deion Thompson to hit into a double play on his 100th pitch to end the inning. He struck out six and walked just one.
Jake Kari came on in the eighth and pitched two scoreless innings.
Greco dueled head-to-head with Jared Crescentini (4-4). The Waterloo starter went 5.2 innings and left after giving up Cooper Coldiron’s run-scoring double that made it 3-1 in the sixth. Brandon Lankford, who singled leading off the inning and moved up on a wild pitch, scored on the play. Coldiron later scored on a wild pitch.
Matt Whalen relieved and with Coldiron on third after a passed ball, threw a wild pitch that allowed Coldiron to score.
That was more than enough for Greco.
“Any lead my offense can give me, that’s all I can ask for,” Greco said. “If they only give me one run, it’s my job not to let the other team get a run.
The Larks (9-9, 25-27) took their first lead of the series in the first inning. Connor Perry singled to right leading off the inning and scored on Ryan Anderson’s groundout.
The Bucks (7-11, 24-29) answered in the second when catcher Jake Viaene hit a triple to the ivy in right-center and scored on Jay Schuyler’s groundout to short.
The Larks went back on top 2-1 in the second when Quinn Irey reached on a fielder’s choice and came home when Waterloo second-baseman Drew Greenwood booted Perry’s hard ground ball. Greenwood’s second error in the seventh led to two more Bismarck runs.
The Bucks made four errors.
Perry had three hits and Lankford and Coldiron had two each for the Larks.
Waterloo’s Jake Viaene had two hits, including a triple.
The teams play two games today, the first at 11:05 a.m. and second at 7:05 p.m.